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Month: April 2016

Feminism: An Essay

Feminism as a movement gained potential in the twentieth century, marking the culmination of two centuries’ struggle for cultural roles and socio-political rights — a struggle which first found its expression in Mary Wollstonecraft‘s Vindication of the Rights of Woman… Read More ›

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Feminist Critique of Freud

Freud had been widely discredited by early second wave feminists including Simone de Beauvoir, Kate Millett and Germaine Greer. Millett, in particular, had persuasively argued that Freudian theory worked to perpetuate sexual difference and reinforce the belief that inferiority was… Read More ›

Lacanian Psychoanalysis

The aura created by the Freudian interpretations reached its zenith when the French Psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan (propelled into this arena by his reading of Freud and Salvador Dali) achieved a place in the literary critical canon. The linguistic, philosophical and… Read More ›

Culture Industry

The Frankfurt School theorists Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer produced an incisive critique of modern culture through their work The Dialectic of Enlightenment, in which they introduced the term “Culture industry,” to describe mass cultural forms which, in the wake… Read More ›

Louis Althusser: ISA and RSA

Althusser is a structuralist Marxist. This should make you ask: How can that be? How can you combine Marxism, which relies on social/historical analysis, with structuralism, which relies on ahistorical/asocial analysis? Althusser answers that initially with distinction between ideologies (historical/social)… Read More ›

Althusserian Marxism

Louis Althusser combined Marxism with the scientifically oriented methods of Structuralism in his essay, Ideology and the Ideological State Apparatuses (1970) and analysed how the dominant systems enforce their control by subtly moulding their subjects through ideology. Ideology has been… Read More ›

Mimicry in Postcolonial Theory

An increasingly important term in post-colonial theory, because it has come to describe the ambivalent relationship between colonizer and colonized. When colonial discourse encourages the colonized subject to ‘mimic’ the colonizer, by adopting the colonizer’s cultural habits, assumptions, institutions and… Read More ›

Strategic Essentialism

Gayatri Spivak, in Subaltern Studies: Deconstructing Historiography, posits that although essentialism is highly problematic for the knowledge it creates about the “other”, there is sometimes a political and social need for what she calls “strategic essentialism.” Spivak uses this term… Read More ›

Subaltern (Postcolonialism)

In the last two decades of the 20th century, Subaltern Studies, postcolonial theory and criticism gained momentum, especially, as a corollary to globalisation in the Third World countries. If postcolonial criticism is taken as an offshoot of postmodernism, subaltern studies… Read More ›

Postcolonialism

A critical analysis of the history, culture, literature and modes of discourse on the Third World countries in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean Islands and South America, postcolonialism concerns itself with the study of the colonization (which began as early as… Read More ›

Historiographic Metafiction

A term originally coined by Linda Hutcheon, in A Poetics of Postmodernism, historiographic metafiction includes those postmodern works, usually popular novels, which are “both intensely self-reflexive and paradoxically lay claim to historical events and personages”. This is categorically a postmodern… Read More ›

Historiography

The postmodern idea of history repudiates the humanist notion that it corresponds faithfully to reality and asserts that it is textual and mediated in order to validate power centres. Thus, while “history” deals with the past, “historiography” deals with the… Read More ›

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